Nassau, Bahamas scuba group trip report – May 2019

Memorial Day Weekend 2018, the intrepid Scuba Shack dive group was greeted in Nassau by tropical storm Antonio with grey days, strong winds, and rain. Fortunately, 2019 saw none of that!

This year’s group from Scuba Shack, led by instructor Peter Katz, saw blue skies, modest winds, and warm temperatures. Upon our arrival at Orange Hill Beach Inn, our regulars noticed a marked improvement in the grounds as well as the buildings and most importantly, staff service. I’m happy to report that under the leadership of Danielle and her husband Chris, Orange Hill is shaping up nicely. They still have a way to go, but at least they are moving in the right direction.

We again dove with the world renown Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas and again they provided excellent service. We were able to use a 46 foot Newton dive boat captained by Wendell, who, once again, did a superb job in getting us safely to and from our favorite dive sites. This year we had a new crew with our “dive god” Nacho and “dive goddess” CC. Seriously, they worked their tails off for us, moving gear, getting nitrox tanks, let alone anchoring the boat and leading the dives. They were extremely safety conscious, yet maintained a warm and friendly disposition in spite of me!

And bottom times!  They were most generous with bottom times, so much so, that we were often the last boat back at the dock. Stuart was generous to offer us Friday afternoon with the seadoos and seabobs (dive propulsion vehicles). They were a major hit!  And this a follow up to the morning lionfish hunt where team Rosenlieb was again the most successful.

Saturday was our off island dive safari to the Lost Blue Hole and Rose Island. It was a little too rough to get the gas grill to the island, so Zac, our photographer stepped up and served as chef on the stern of the boat. He did an excellent job with the fish, burgers and hot dogs.

We did a shark dive on Sunday morning that was quite intimate. Nacho did an entertaining feed for the eight of us who participated. CC led the other four divers down the wall for an enjoyable dive.

Our evenings out at Café Matisse, Cappricio’s, and Luciano’s were wonderful. Excellent food, great camaraderie, spectacular weather for dinning al fresco. Orange Hill once again provided us with a wonderful barbecue on Sunday evening before departure on Monday.

Although a number of our “regulars” couldn’t make it on this trip, I feel we have enticed some new people to become additions to our “regulars.” I certainly hope so. Looking forward to next year’s trip.

Photo Gallery – David Tucker & Bond Wrecks

Photos copyright Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas and used by permission.

Photo Gallery – Blue Hole Adventure

Photo Gallery – Shark Dive

Photos copyright Neil G. and used by permission.

Turks & Caicos scuba trip report

Scuba Shack had a group of 11 head out to Providenciales, Turks & Caicos on Oct. 20 to dive with Dive Provo. And what a week! The weather was spectacular. Sunny and in the low 80s every day. We did some diving in West Caicos – Amphitheater and the Crack, two days of diving at French Cay, and also spent a day in beautiful Grace Bay.

We had swim throughs and beautiful walls, with Caribbean Reef sharks cruisin’ by on every dive. Lots of lobsters, and a couple of large turtles, one of whom sat and posed perfectly for us. Another day we had a small nurse shark who followed our group from beginning to end. And then showed up at the next dive site!

On our boat trips returning from French Cay we were treated to some stunning turquoise tinted clouds, reflecting the beautiful turquoise water below. And some curious dolphins. Magnificent!

Afternoons were spent with friends, new and old, lounging on the beach, taking a nap by the pool, a little sightseeing, and maybe an adult beverage or two. It was a very relaxing week.

We had dinner in some interesting locations. Danny Buoys, which was all decked out for Halloween, Mango Reef located in the marina and Somewhere Cafe, a breezy little place located right on the beach. Coco Van, an Airstream Trailer converted into a gourmet food truck, located in a grove of coconut trees and the Fish Fry, where there were lots of interesting Halloween costumes.

Thanks to our Dive Provo crew – Morro, Caroline, Selma, Pablo and Alan and everyone in the shop. Diving with all of you was such a pleasure.

Check out Scuba Shack’s upcoming travel in the Travel section. Next up – Cozumel, February 2019.

Another great Dutch Springs weekend

Scuba Shack was back at Dutch Springs this past weekend (Aug 17, 18 and 19) with three jammed pack days of diving. The water was a little higher than normal given all the rain happening in the Northeast this summer. While the algae kept visibility down a bit, the hot summer has warmed Dutch to a balmy 70+ all the way to the platforms. The pit of misery however is still in the upper 40s – perfect for the deep dive.

First up was setting up base camp on Friday, followed by a check out dive with Marla prior to the Instructor Exam. Matt and Marla successfully completed the PADI Instructor Exam on Saturday and Sunday. They are now proud Open Water Scuba Instructors for Scuba Shack. Congratulations Matt and Marla!

Keith and Mike successfully completed their Advanced Open Water certification with Jeff. We did the buoyancy, navigation, and wreck dive on Saturday, followed by the deep dive along with the search and recovery dive on Sunday. Congratulations Keith and Mike!

Jill and Chris from Scuba Shack staff ran a fantastic drive and dive taking DJ, Marion, and Mike on five different dives exploring various attractions at Dutch Springs.

We had a really nice dinner at Copperhead Grill on Saturday night with some great dive stories and other fish tales.

The plan is for at least one more trip to Dutch Springs the weekend of Sept. 28 – 30. The visibility will be really great that time of year and temperatures will still be comfortable.

See you there.

Photos from the weekend

Dutch Springs weekend report

Scuba Shack just wrapped up an awesome weekend of training and diving at Dutch Springs in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Some great mid-summer weather allowed us to complete a full agenda over three days (July 27, 28 & 29) that included Instructor Development, Divemaster training, Advanced Open Water and a Drive and Dive.

Dutch Springs was a happening place for scuba diving. We were prepared for the crowd by staking out our prime spot on Friday afternoon. Our location was right behind the Wounded Warrior project and the brave veterans experiencing the freedom of scuba diving.

Matt and Marla were put through their IDC paces by Course Director Monty, assisted by Steve and Ron, while Emily completed her Advanced Open Water course with Jeff assisted by Alex and Ray.

Ray also did several dives with Adam down for the Dive and Drive. Karta and Amrit also made the trip to Dutch for a couple of days of diving.

Visibility came in at about 10 to 15 feet with temperatures on the platforms in the mid to upper 60s while in the mid 50s at depth. The water will continue to get warmer as we move into September and visibility is expected to improve when the nights get a little cooler.

Our next trip to Dutch Springs will be August 17 – 19 when Matt and Marla go through their Instructor Exam and we will hold another Advance Open Water course coupled with another Drive and Dive.

Come join us!

Photo Gallery

New location opens in Rocky Hill

Scuba Shack is now open in the Shunpike Business Center, 1275 Cromwell Ave A-6 in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. We are located around the back of the first building on your right. Directions are available right here, and we are located less than three minutes off I-91’s Exit 23.

We made the move over the weekend of April 14 & 15 with a lot of help from our friends! We could not have done it without their help – a heartfelt thanks go out to all.

After a couple of very long days, the showroom is now ready and open for business.

New Location Photos

GUE Fundamentals, Doubles & Dry Suit Classes at Dutch Springs

This past weekend, three students took part in a Global Underwater Explorers Fundamentals Class at Dutch Springs in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Students enrolled in programs covering double tank configurations, primary light use, and one completed their dry suit specialty course.

The classes were taught by Scuba Shack’s resident GUE Instructor Ed Hayes, and assisted by instructor Gary Woods. All students worked very hard to take their diving skills to the next level.

If you are interested in learning more about Global Underwater Explorers, the advantages of diving with doubles, a dry suit or a primary light, please contact the shop for more information.

GUE Fundamentals class at Dutch Springs

On Thursday Aug. 10, five students from Scuba Shack in Rocky Hill, Connecticut took part in a Global Underwater Explores Fundamentals Class at Dutch Springs in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The class was taught by GUE Instructor Ed Hayes and assisted by Gary Woods. The intense training lasted until Sunday afternoon with multiple dives and lectures each day. Divers were trained in pre-dive, ascents and descents, buoyancy control, forward and backward propulsion, turns, air shares, “basic five,” surface marker buoy deployment, team diving skills and much more.

All dives were videotaped, reviewed and critiqued by the instructor and the students. Congratulations to all the students who participated and trained very hard to improve their diving skills.

If you are interested in taking your diving to the next level, the GUE Fundamentals Class could be for you. Please contact the shop for more information.

Students complete GUE Prep Class

On July 21 and 22, five divers completed the open water sessions for the GUE Prep Class that was conducted by Scuba Shack Instructor Gary Woods and GUE Instructor Ed Hayes. The two day in water class was preceded two classroom and pool sessions.

The intense training was held at Dutch Springs in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Students were trained in pre-dive, forward and backward propulsion, ascents and descent drills, air shares and “basic five” drills. This class was designed for students wishing to further their diving skills and to reach the goal of total control in the water. If you’re interested in the GUE Prep Class, or any other GUE programs, contact Scuba Shack today.

Congratulations to all the participants who worked very hard over two long days of diving with very good results.

 

Annual trip to the Bahamas – Hundreds of Sharks!

It’s hard to believe that a month has passed since May 24, the day the Scuba Shack gang invaded Nassau, Bahamas, for the annual Scuba Shack Memorial Day Weekend. Twenty one adventurers participated in another fun filled weekend led by Scuba Shack instructor Peter Katz. Our usual haunt, Orange Hill Beach Inn, had sustained significant damage during Hurricane Matthew back in October but managed to accommodate us. Perhaps not in the lap of luxury, more like Motel 6 only no light left on for us since it had burnt out years ago and no one has gotten around to replace it. But they managed to feed us breakfast every morning and provided an excellent BBQ on our last night.

The Stuart Cove dive staff were terrific! Unfortunately, our previous crew was no longer at the shop but our new crew, Captain Wendell, Divemasters Katie and Alex were able to fill the void. They did an excellent job and were more than willing and able to inject energy and enthusiasm into the trip.

Many of the dive sites have undergone changes since Matthew passed through which made for interesting dives. By far the dive highlight was the trip to the Lost Blue Hole and Rose Island. This year we did two dives at the hole. The first included a visit from a huge loggerhead turtle and a school of 100-150 sharpnosed sharks exiting from the depths of the hole, en masse. The second dive was a shark feed with eight Caribbean Reef Sharks up close and personal. How close you ask? Ask Anja whose mask was knocked off by one of the sharks as it swam by to partake of the feed.

Our evening out encompassed our usual favorites, Capriccio’s, Café Matisse, and Luciano’s. We were surprised to find that we were joined for dinner by Dan Marino and former Miami Dolphins as well as the mascot and cheerleaders. It turns out that Pete Walden went to college with Dan. The next thing we knew, people were posing for pictures with Dan. It made for an exciting evening.

Although we were missing a few of our regulars, the “newbies” joined right in and in no time felt like “regulars”. The best thing was we “old timers” were able to tell the same old stories and jokes to a new audience. All in all, everyone had a spectacular time and are looking forward to next year’s trip.

Nassau Trip Video

Nassau Trip Photo Gallery

Hundreds of Sharks!

Posted by Doug Shuckra on Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Grand Cayman Trip Report

I just got back from a five day trip to the Sunset House on Grand Cayman. It was a promotional deal to check out their facilities and the dive operation. The flight from Bradley was easy and fairly quick on American Airlines. The taxi ride to the resort took about 10 minutes and a smooth check in at the front desk. I stayed in a courtyard room which was clean and nice with two double beds, a front porch and a great view.

The resort has a nice pool with a waterfall, three ladders to access the beautiful Caribbean Sea for diving or swimming, a large covered bar with plenty of table seating, and a restaurant that serves three meals a day with waterside dining available.

The dive operations were exceptional. The Sunset House is designed for scuba divers and every aspect of the diving is smooth and easy. The dive boats are clean and in good condition with plenty of room on board, even with a large group. The shore diving was great with easy access to the water, and the house reef is as good as many of the dive boat sites. The crew was very accommodating and provided some of the best service I have seen.

If you are looking for a warm tropical getaway with great diving at a reasonable price, consider joining Scuba Shack in October for a week long adventure at the Sunset House on Grand Cayman.

Trip Photos

Trip Video